Elizabeth woke up and looked around her. Her mother was coughing in her bed, and her brother was asleep by the fire. Elizabeth got up from her bed, grabbed her things, and began to pack. She was going to run away to London.
The Deacon couldn't sleep. He was awake watching the fire. His eyes were fixated on the embers. His best friend Flip was sleeping by his side. Harry woke with a scream. Deacon cast his eyes away from the fire, and watched him try and cry himself to sleep.
"What you doing Harry? Why're you so sad all the time?" Harry whimpered.
"Do you like crying' all the time?" Harry didn't answer. Deacon knew he wasn't asleep.
"Never mind you then. I don't know why I even bother."? Deacon grabbed his blankets and found an empty spot on the floor. Tonight, he would dream of shepherd's pie.
Elizabeth made her way through the busy streets towards the flower shop. She had decided long ago that when the time came she would ask her aunt for a job.
Deacon was out scouting his usual streets. He had already acquired three pocketbooks and a wipe, but was hoping to get more. He found his next target, but was distracted by a young girl. She was probably a year or two younger than him, and she had long brown hair. She was sneaking around an older man, and it looked as though she was going to try and pick his pocket. Deacon didn't think that was a good idea, and he started walking over to her to tell her to stop. He was too late. Thankfully he was close enough to have the blame laid on him.
"Thief! Thief!" The old man shouted. Deacon grabbed the girl's hand and ran.
"Keep running! Don't look back!" Deacon warned the girl. She nodded her head, and fixed her eyes forward.
He knew where he was going. He easily maneuvered through the city streets and crowded alley ways.
Once she didn't hear the men chasing her, Elizabeth stopped her new companion. He leaned against the wall, trying to get his breath back. Elizabeth took the time to study him. He was tall, and handsome. He had auburn hair that hung in his eyes. He wore a newsboy cap, and had on shades of blue. He had one freckle, under his right eye.
"Who are you?" Elizabeth asked. The boy didn't look up. he didn't even acknowledge her presence. He simply stayed looking at the ground.
"Who are you?" Still, no answer.
"I won't ask again! Who are you?"
"A kind stranger." The boy sighed heavily. He looked at her, and she noticed his eyes were green.
"You must have somewhere to go. Here." The boy gave her a shilling. "Try not to get yourself into trouble. It only causes trouble for the rest of us." The boy started to walk away.
"Wait!" The boy didn't turn around. Elizabeth started running towards the boy. She shouted to him, but still he didn't answer. Finally she gave up, and tried to find her way back to her aunt's flower shop.
Deacon didn't know what he was thinking. He almost brought the girl to Dodger's. He didn't even know her name. Deacon wondered if he would ever see the girl again. He knocked on the door, and was let in by Flip.
"Where you been mate? Dodger's looking for ya."
Deacon made his way up the stairs to Dodger. He wasn't surprised that Dodger wanted to talk to him. He was sure somebody had complained about his somber attitude.
"Hey ya Dodge! What's new?"
"Sit." Deacon took a chair across from Dodger. Dodger stared at him for a moment before he began to talk.
"Deacon, have you thought about what you will do after you get out of here?"
"Not at all?"
"Well, I guess I always thought I'd find a job in a factory or something. I don't know."
"Deacon, you know you're my best man, but you're getting old. You're already seventeen." Deacon looked at Dodger. He was at a loss for words. He knew he couldn't hang around Dodger's forever, but he never thought he'd be kicked out. He had grown up here. He couldn't believe how straight about this Dodger was being. They had been together for ten of those seventeen years, far longer than any other boy here. Deacon thought at least that Dodger would miss him.
"So that's it? I need to pack up my things and leave?"
"No. I'm just saying maybe you should start thinking about it, that's all. The life of a thief is not a full one." Dodger paused, obviously thinking about something else. "You should know by now Deacon, you can stay as long as you want."
"Okay. Thanks Dodge. I'll start thinking about it." Deacon stood up, and grabbed his blanket. The bed was open, and Deacon wanted to sleep.
Elizabeth arrived at her aunt's shop late. Thankfully her aunt lived in the apartment above the shop. Elizabeth rang the bell, and soon her aunt came to open the door.
"Elizabeth! What are you doing 'ere? Come in. Come in. how's your mother?"
"She's been better. That's why I came to you. Colin is working two jobs, and we still hardly have any food. I was wondering if I could work for you. I would find lodging elsewhere."
"Sweetheart, of course you can work for me. I can't pay you much, but it should be enough for a young woman like you to live on."
"For tonight, you are staying with me. Go upstairs and grab an extra blanket and pillow. You can sleep by the fire."
That night, Elizabeth dreamed of the boy. The kind stranger.